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Snout Nose Butterflies Pass Through San Antonio As Part Of Annual Migration

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Texas A&M Agrilife Extension

You may have noticed a lot of butterflies recently and seen more than you’d like smashed on your windshield or in the grill of your car. Experts say for this species, the population is so hardy, your car isn’t doing the population any damage.

The American Snout Nose Butterfly is named for its long nose. It’s small, orange, black and brown and mimics fall leaves.

Molly Keck is an entomologist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Bexar County.

"They’re by and large the one you’re seeing in this mass migration. And you see them around this time of year, almost every year. They migrate down to the Rio Grande Valley, Rio Grande River area," Keck says.

Keck says they start their migration in San Marcos and areas a little farther north, and she calls them “an I-35 corridor kind of butterfly.”   

Keck says the American Snout Nose Butterfly isn’t threatened or endangered like some other butterflies because of the abundance of the spiny hackberry plant that they eat. Keck says because of that, when we hit them with our cars, we’re just not doing that much damage.

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Credit National Park Service
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National Park Service
American Snout Butterfly

"It seems amazing that you wouldn’t put a dent in the population with as many hundreds as you sometimes kill on your way to and from work, but there’s just so many of them right now that you’re not really doing too much. And that’s kind of part of the way insects work. They put out a whole bunch of babies and hope that just a handful make it, and that’s what’s happening now," she says.

Keck says though the butterfly lives in other parts of the country, their numbers are so large here that she considers them a true Texas butterfly.

Louisa Jonas is an independent public radio producer, environmental writer, and radio production teacher based in Baltimore. She is thrilled to have been a PRX STEM Story Project recipient for which she produced a piece about periodical cicadas. Her work includes documentaries about spawning horseshoe crabs and migratory shorebirds aired on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered. Louisa previously worked as the podcast producer at WYPR 88.1FM in Baltimore. There she created and produced two documentary podcast series: Natural Maryland and Ascending: Baltimore School for the Arts. The Nature Conservancy selected her documentaries for their podcast Nature Stories. She has also produced for the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s Distillations Podcast. Louisa is editor of the book Backyard Carolina: Two Decades of Public Radio Commentary. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her training also includes journalism fellowships from the Science Literacy Project and the Knight Digital Media Center, both in Berkeley, CA. Most recently she received a journalism fellowship through Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where she traveled to Toolik Field Station in Arctic Alaska to study climate change. In addition to her work as an independent producer, she teaches radio production classes at Howard Community College to a great group of budding journalists. She has worked as an environmental educator and canoe instructor but has yet to convince a great blue heron to squawk for her microphone…she remains undeterred.